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Iran: Protests, strikes reported in numerous cities

Employees and workers of the Mahshahr Petrochemical Complex launched a strike (File photo)
Employees and workers of the Mahshahr Petrochemical Complex launched a strike (File photo)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, January 22, 2020—Employees and workers of the Mahshahr Petrochemical Complex in southwest Iran launched a strike on Tuesday, January 21, in the so-called Bandar-e Khomeini (formerly known as Bandar-e Shahpour), protesting not receiving their wages and responses to their demands.

In June 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), a firm linked closely to the regime’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), 39 sub-companies involved in Iran’s petrochemical industry.

Washington sanctioning Iran’s petrochemical industry is tantamount to taking a major step towards “suffocating” this vital branch of the regime’s profiteering activities. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is emphasizing on “maximum pressure” to deny any funds for the IRGC, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

The new sanctions arrived as Washington is increasing pressures on Tehran for its ballistic missiles and proxy wars across the region.

The U.S. Treasury said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded Khatam al-Anbiya, the economic and engineering arm of the regime’s IRGC, ten projects in the oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the IRGC’s official budget.

In Tehran, a group of creditors who had invested in the Caspian Credit Firm – linked to the regime’s IRGC – held a rally on Tuesday protesting the plundering of their assets. This gathering was held outside an administrative office of this extremely corrupt institution.

Caspian is one of several credit institutions that declared a large deficit in 2017, wiping away billions of dollars’ worth of investor money. The credit institutions started absorbing investor money three years earlier with trumped-up promises of fast returns on investment. Many Iranians trusted those companies with their wealth and lifesavings.

Those promises never materialized. These credit institutions have strong ties to Iranian regime officials and had gotten permits from the Iranian regime’s ministries. In particular, Caspian was approved by Iran’s Central Bank, leaving no doubt that the Iranian regime and its officials were all in on the scams that the institution was running. Caspian is owned and run by the IRGC, which has a notorious history of wasting the country’s resources on fueling conflicts in neighboring countries and empowering the Iranian regime’s security and repressing apparatus.

The IRGC was officially designated as a terrorist entity by the U.S. administration in April.

Since the collapse of the credit institutions, their customers have been regularly protesting in front of branches of the companies as well as government institutions and the Central Bank, demanding the return of their funds. Iranian officials have given promises, but like their pledges to other protesting sectors of the Iranian society, those promises have yet to materialize.

In the meantime, the outrage and anger of protesters continue to simmer to a boil.

In Eslamabad Gharb, located in western Iran, railway workers held a rally on Tuesday, protesting not receiving their paychecks for the past five months and regime officials taking measures to halt their construction project in its entirety. This gathering was held outside the office of the local representative of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the governor’s building.

Locals in the town of Kaki in Bushehr Province, southern Iran, held a gathering outside the so-called city council protesting the local water and fuel shortage crisis that has disrupted their everyday lives.

It is worth noting that the Kaki water network has no water for 12 hours each day. Furthermore, the CNG station in this town is out of order due to the need of spare parts.

Kaki is among the very impoverished areas of Iran with a population of around 10,000.